Baltimore Orioles: Can special moments zap teams’ energy?


No, Baltimore Orioles fans – this isn’t another column about Jose Bautista‘s bat flip. I, along with every other columnist on the planet have weighed in on that and at some point will continue to do so in the future – until the next thing comes along. At some point he might have to suffer the reprecussions of his actions – but in the future.

But I am here to bring up his big home run once again. Regardless of the bat flip or the unwritten codes violation, it was about as big of a homer in as big of a moment as we’ve seen in some time. And moments like that are something with which Orioles fans can certainly relate. Albeit not a home run, we did see a similar type of moment from the Birds in last year’s ALDS game two.

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You know the one to which I’m referring; Delmon Young‘s bases-clearing double against Detroit last October. While I view moments like that through the analytical eyes of a writer instead of the emotional eyes of a fan, that was about as clutch as it gets. Speaking for myself, I had never heard Camden Yards that loud. It was almost the personification of father time himself paying Orioles fans back for the years of ineptitude.

The same can be said of the Bautista homer last week. But think of what happened after that Delmon Young double last year. The O’s went to Detroit and won game three 2-1, sweeping the series. That game was dominated by pitchers, and in fact was fairly anti-climactic as far as elimination games go. The offense just couldn’t get anything going for the most part, and of course that’s a trend that continued into the ALCS which was swept by Kansas City.

And if you look at Toronto thus far in the ALCS against that same Kansas City team, we’re seeing much of the same. So I suppose my question here is whether or not it’s possible to overshoot oneself on an emotional level. It’s easy enough to say you never really want to come down from a high. However logically, you know that at some point you’re going to have to do just that. But are some highs so great that the act of coming back to earth is too much of a downer?

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  • This kind of gets into pyschology a bit, and that can be a fascinating topic when sports are involved. (If only Sigmund Freud could see me now!) In the Orioles’ case, it’s almost as if the team and perhaps even the fans spent all of that energy on that one moment, only to come back to earth in a fog of sorts. Whether this happens in full to Toronto still remains to be seen, however starting the ALCS 0-2 probably wasn’t what they expected.

    Make no mistake about the fact that the Delmon Young play last year does still represent something incredibly special to Birdland. The same is true of Bautista’s home run (minus the theatrics) in Toronto. Both plays on their own will not soon be forgotten by the players, but especially by the fans. As I said, I’ve never heard Oriole Park as loud as I did last year when Young’s shot went down the line in the 8th inning. It was a pretty special moment for the O’s and more importantly for the city of Baltimore.

    But then of course the O’s came up against a team in Kansas City who’s collective blood pressure might be zero. And they blooped and broken-bat singled the Orioles to death before all was said and done. Toronto is finding that same lesson out right now. And no, I’m not suggesting that teams like Kansas City are the ones getting it right. They’re assuming the unexpected is going to hoist them to victory; although to this point it’s worked for them. But home runs come easier than bloop singles.

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    The point in this could be seen as two-fold. On one hand you want to ensure that a moment like those created by Young and Bautista don’t become so great that they impede your progress at the next stage. However on the other hand, that’s certainly not a problem if your moment occurs in the final act of the show.

    Next: Baltimore Orioles: Jose Bautista's bat flip WAS NOT a good thing

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